Lets talk about practice and why we love it: Gareth Courage

Although I originally studied as a Fine Artist, my practice is now firmly rooted in the Graphic Arts. My commercial work specialises in design for cultural events, organisations and projects and I have a particular interest in working with sound and performance practitioners. This commitment to the Graphic Arts was cemented when I undertook my MA in Illustration in 2015. I find working within the area of graphic arts very satisfying and Im much more comfortable to apply my stylistic approach, which although is still rooted in my fine art background,  to visual communication projects within this field.  I really enjoy working with experimental and forward-thinking clients from varied disciplines and seeing how our values, interests, standards and approach to work often overlap and share similar development processes.  I always intend to reflect and share this working process in the teaching and learning sessions I deliver and I hope that some of these principles and ethics can be shared with some of the talented leaners we have the privilege of working with.


My graphic design work is often, but not exclusively,  print-based in output and aims to support the artistic undertaking of others through a collaborative approach to documentation, presentation and dissemination. I have undertaken project work with different community groups, and have delivered sessions to support and inform projects in a variety of public settings including schools, galleries and libraries. These aim to encourage artistic expression without imposing value judgements and to develop projects in unique and unexpected ways. In the past few years, I have developed psychogeographical maps and created poetry newspapers with secondary school learners, worked in conjunction with a primary school group to create promotional material for a children's play that they had produced and designed festival branding with a diverse group of learners from across different types of school. Alongside this, I have developed a range of promotional material for experimental theatre producers, film festivals and arts practitioners across the UK.


All my design work is underpinned by my illustrative practice and has a collage-based approach. This area of my work has involved commissioned work for galleries, editorial and publishing.  I have been working with this method of construction for over 25 years, and my visual language has developed through my initial training in sculpture where I worked almost exclusively in assemblage and bricolage. This method of construction is still evident in my work, which uses a range of found paper ephemera, obsolete textbooks, vernacular photography and both physical and scanned textures in its execution. Although I now work almost exclusively digitally for commissioned work I still keep a variety of paper-based sketchbooks for developing hand made work which refers back to and explores recurrent themes of texture, redaction, fragmentation and composition.


Most recently I have begun to apply this collaged approach to work to the areas of film and motion graphics, and I have slowly developed these processes into an expanded film project (469 DOF - Europe Through The Windscreen) which has recently received Arts Council funding.  I am intending that this project, which has been directly informed by my work with theatre practitioners, will develop a range of new working and presentation methods.

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